Okay God, What do I do now?

We are all faced with challenges, choices, decisions.  Everyday we have to decide what to wear, whether to go to work one way or another, which bills to pay or put off to the next paycheck, which college we are going to, who we are going to date or marry, which car to lease or buy, how to raise our children, what to tell them and how to tell them.  We have moral decisions to make – should I or should I not tell about that incident, academic probation, that youthful indiscretion with that persuasvive guy….what Sunday School lesson to teach, how to teach it, what sermon to preach and how to preach it.  Decisions, decisions, decisions. What do I do?  Where do I go to find out? How do I make my decision?

A good place to start is with Nehemiah – the King of Decision Making. Of all of the people in the Bible, Nehemiah provides one of our best patterns for getting it right.

Nehemiah was faced with a huge challenge.  The walls of Jerusalem were in disrepair, and the returned exiles were vulnerable and disheartened.  When Nehemiah got this news, we see his four-step approach to the problem.

  • First, he carefully studied the situation (vv. 2-3)
  • Second, he sympathized with those who were hurting (v.4)
  • Third, he humbled himself before God (v. 4)
  • Fourth, he prayed.  And what in incredible prayer!  Nehemiah adored God (v. 5), confessed his nation’s sin to the Lord (vv. 6-7), and finally, petitioned God for help (vv.8-11).

Ultimately, Nehemiah knew what everyone who has a deep relationship with God knows;  All wisdom comes from God, and using his wisdom to make good decisions is something God wants to help us learn to do.  Prayer, then, must become a permanent part of our decision-making process, in every decision, even business matters. The fact that it might strike us as an odd notion to pray over business decisions reveals how we have fallen prey to the false notion that there is a distinction between sacred and the secular.  As fully developing followers of Jesus, our calling is to do everything in in the name of the Lord (Col.3:17).

Help me oh Lord, to make decisions according to Your will.  That my decisions be just, honorable, and the best thing for my Christian witness. 

Nehemiah 1:1-11 (NLB)

1 These are the memoirs of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah.  In late autumn, in the month of Kislev, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes’ reign, I was at the fortress of Susa. 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came to visit me with some other men who had just arrived from Judah. I asked them about the Jews who had returned there from captivity and about how things were going in Jerusalem.

3 They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.”

4 When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven. 5 Then I said, “O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, 6 listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! 7 We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses.

8 “Please remember what you told your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful to me, I will scatter you among the nations. 9 But if you return to me and obey my commands and live by them, then even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth, I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.’

10 “The people you rescued by your great power and strong hand are your servants. 11 O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me.] Put it into his heart to be kind to me.”

In those days I was the king’s cup-bearer.

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